Why a domestic abuse workplace policy matters
The Crime Survey for England and Wales points to 30% of women and 16.3% of men will experience domestic abuse within their lifetime (Crime Survey 2015). As such it is likely that all workplaces have staff that have experienced abuse, as well as employees who are perpetrators.
Many of those experiencing abuse will be targeted at work. It is important that employers take effective action in the workplace to safeguard their employees and to ensure their employees feel safe and supported. A steady income can be key to ensuring a victim/survivor maintains financial independence and opportunities to escape an abusive situation. For some employees the workplace may be the only safe place and can provide a gateway to accessing specialist help and support.
‘If it were not for my employer, I would not be alive today’
(The Guardian 2013)
- Having an effective workplace policy and guidance ensures we as social landlords
- Uphold our duty to ensure the health and safety of employees in the workplace
- Are a supportive employer, in keeping with our values
- Demonstrate that we value and invest in our workforce
- Guard against reputational damage and respond appropriately to victims/ perpetrators
- Do our bit to affect social change and influence attitudes
Responding to domestic abuse in the workplace
There are simple steps that managers and colleagues can take, such as being aware of warning signs, listening, empathising and showing concern. The workplace policy should aim to set out what help employers can provide and outline the types of safety measures they can put in place.
In addition, policy guidance for managers and colleagues should include information on supporting and managing an employee who is experiencing domestic abuse. We’d also recommend training for managers on the workplace policy.
We’ve included a sample workplace policy and guidance, also a policy checklist to act as a starting point for reviewing existing policies and procedures
Raising awareness in the workplace
Once a workplace policy is in place, it is important to ensure employees are aware of it. The introduction of a new policy or updating an existing policy is an opportune time to launch an awareness campaign.